Washita River

This article is about the river in Texas and Oklahoma. For the river in Arkansas and Louisiana, see Ouachita River.
Washita River

Photo of the Upper Washita River

Upper Washita River in Hemphill County, Texas

Map of the Washita River watershed
Other name(s) Ouachita, False Washita
Country United States
Main source Roberts County, Texas
3,028 ft (923 m)
35°37′32″N 100°35′46″W / 35.6256003°N 100.5962467°W / 35.6256003; -100.5962467 (Primary source of Washita River)[1]
River mouth Lake Texoma
617 ft (188 m)
33°54′42″N 96°34′41″W / 33.9117669°N 96.5780504°W / 33.9117669; -96.5780504 (Mouth of Washita River)Coordinates: 33°54′42″N 96°34′41″W / 33.9117669°N 96.5780504°W / 33.9117669; -96.5780504 (Mouth of Washita River)[1]
River system Red River
Basin size 7,870 sq mi (20,400 km2)
Physical characteristics
Length 295 mi (475 km)
The Washita River at Anadarko, Oklahoma
The Washita River near Pauls Valley, Oklahoma

The Washita River is a river in Texas and Oklahoma, United States. The river is 295 miles (475 km) long and terminates into Lake Texoma in Johnston County (also Bryan County and Marshall County - 33°55′N 96°35′W / 33.917°N 96.583°W / 33.917; -96.583), Oklahoma and the Red River.


The Washita River crosses Hemphill County, Texas and enters Oklahoma in Roger Mills County. In Oklahoma it cuts through the Oklahoma Counties of: Roger Mills, Custer, Washita, Caddo, Grady, Garvin, Murray, Carter, and Johnston. Lake Texoma is the border between Bryan County and Marshall County.

The river bisects the heart of the Anadarko Basin, according to the USGS the Anadarko Basin is the fifth largest natural gas formation area discovered in the United States.

When the river reaches the Arbuckle Mountains it drops 30 ft/mile as it cuts through Big Canyon, a limestone gorge 300 feet deep.

The Washita's river bed is made up of unstable mud and sand. The banks of the river are steeply incised and erosive, made up of red earth. This makes it one of the most silt-laden streams in North America. [2]


The Washita River forms in eastern Roberts County, Texas (35°38′N 100°36′W / 35.633°N 100.600°W / 35.633; -100.600) near the town of Miami, Texas in the Texas Panhandle.


Along its path, the Foss Dam impounds the Washita River to create the huge Foss Reservoir. Several reservoirs along the Washita River valley hold the waters of small tributaries, including Fort Cobb Lake, Lake Chickasha, and Arbuckle Reservoir.


French explorers discovered this river while traveling upstream on the Red River, early in the 18th Century and thought it was the same stream described by friendly Choctaw tribesmen as the Ouachita River. They soon found that it appeared very different from descriptions of the Ouachita, and named it the Faux Ouachita (False Ouachita). The name was later corrupted by American settlers to False Washita. After the American Civil War, the river was simply known as the Washita.[3]

The Battle of Washita River (or Washita River Massacre) occurred on November 27, 1868 when Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer’s 7th U.S. Cavalry attacked Black Kettle’s Cheyenne village on the Washita River (near present-day Cheyenne, Oklahoma) at dawn.

General (later President) Zachary Taylor established Fort Washita near lower end of the river in 1842 to protect citizens of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations from the plains indians. The Fort was about 19 miles (31 km) above where the Washita river runs into the Red River.[4]

See also


This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/29/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.